SDO after SDO has been granted to allow controversial developments smooth passage and the biggest loser is Bermuda’s environment, said OBA Senator Michael Fahy.
Tuckers Point recently confirmed that it is moving forward with steps as required by the Special Development Order [SDO] granted in 2011, with an application made to the Department of Planning for the subdivision of lots on Glebe Hill.
The application is the first step for the Glebe Hill development of three residential lots and subdivides one existing parcel into six additional lots; three for residential use as provided for in the SDO, one for a boundary adjustment, and two non-developable amenity lots.
Senator Fahy said: “If there is a silver lining in the application by Tucker’s Point Management Ltd to subdivide land at Tucker’s Point which is to be sold as sites for luxury homes, it is that anything that helps to financially stabilise the Tucker’s Point group, well known to be having a difficult time of it financially, helps Bermuda and our efforts to revive tourism.
“But anyone who has been following this story as it has developed over the last year or two knows that that is a mighty slim silver lining.
“Mr Stuart Hayward of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) has accused the Tucker’s Point group of trying to sidestep “stringent conditions” attached to the Government Special Development Order which allowed such environmentally sensitive land to be developed in the first place.
“Tucker’s Point denies it, saying its application is a technical one…simply for subdivision, and not for development. Relations between those two groups and between BEST and the Government are not cordial.
“And everybody will remember the Ombudsman’s Report published earlier this year, which told a sad and depressing tale of a Government that, among other things, broke an international agreement – the United Kingdom’s Environment Charter, signed by Bermuda more than a decade ago – in order to allow Tucker’s Point to do what it felt it needed to do with a minimum of fuss.
“The Government’s wish for a minimum of fuss has led it astray many times in the Planning arena. SDO after SDO after SDO has been granted to allow controversial developments smooth passage through the court of public opinion.
Senator Fahy continued: “But circumventing the law is a dangerous business. It doesn’t take people long to figure out what’s going on, and they are bound to wonder what else the Government is circumventing in its management of Bermuda.
“The biggest loser is Bermuda’s environment, which always seems to be handed the short end of the stick. The One Bermuda Alliance, it is worth pointing out, is a supporter of using brownfield sites for development – sites, that is, that have already had at least one use in their history. Virgin land, we believe, should remain virgin.
“But in addition to the environment, there is also another casualty. The price the Government pays with these short cuts is a loss of trust. Those involved in the Planning process lose trust, environmental groups lose trust, the British Government has lost trust in this case, and the Bermuda public loses trust.
“The ability to make Special Development Orders is not, as the Government thinks it is, the gift that keeps on giving. It’s the gift that never stops taking,” concluded Senator Fahy.
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